Super Rugby / 16 January 2020, 12:09pm / Ashfak Mohamed
CAPE TOWN – Stormers coach John Dobson has sprung a pre-season surprise by starting captain Siya Kolisi at No 8 for Sunday’s SuperHero friendly against the Sharks in Soweto.
Kolisi, who has worn the No 6 jersey for most of his senior matches, reverts back to the No 8 position that he occupied for a large part of his youth career.
The 28-year-old was renowned as a powerful ball-carrier for Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, and has continued to play a similar role for the Stormers and Springboks, despite packing down on the side of the scrum.
Dobson did say earlier this week that he wants to make the most of Kolisi’s attributes in Super Rugby this year.
“Siya has exceptional X-factor as a carrier of a rugby ball, and we would be stupid to deprive him of that skill and make him chase kicks or hit 40 breakdowns. But also, we cannot spurn the power and the personnel that we have upfront,” the coach said.
Kolisi’s move to the back of the scrum sees former UCT captain Nama Xaba at openside flank, with the powerful ex-SA Under-20 skipper Ernst van Rhyn at blindside in the absence of the injured Bok star Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Youngsters Salmaan Moerat and David Meiheizen will start at lock, while Neethling Fouche gets an opportunity at tighthead prop alongside Test players Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni.
Wilco Louw will be on the bench, and Frans Malherbe will feature for the other Stormers side that will face the Southern Kings in Knysna on Friday night.
It’s an exciting backline that will take on the Sharks, with youngster Rikus Pretorius partnering Ruhan Nel at centre, while Springboks Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies will make up the halfback pairing.
Apart from Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi will also start against the Kings, while Seabelo Senatla will look to make an impression at right wing.